Sometimes the hardest part about forgiveness is forgiving ourselves. When faced with the consequences of our actions, we can’t forget the things we’ve done. Perhaps other people have suffered as a result of our selfishness and pride. Families have struggled. Children have reacted in destructive ways. Or, just as devastating, our self-image takes another hit in the light of more transgressions. We beat ourselves up because we blew it again.
The Bible tells us that the law was created to make humans aware of their sin (Romans 3:20), but Christ came to be the fulfillment of the law and to be the last sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 9:22). According to God’s law, the price has been paid for us. If we have accepted God’s free gift of salvation and forgiveness, we are clean. God sees us through rose-colored glasses. He sees us through the blood of his Son that was shed for us.
So the problem is not our status before God. The problem is our own inability to see ourselves as forgiven. We don’t feel worthy of God’s love. Our crimes are too terrible to let them go. But this attitude only limits God in how he and use us.
Becoming aware of our sinfulness is an important step in our relationship with Christ. We must admit we are sinners in need of a savior in order to follow him. But if we beat ourselves up for the sin in our lives, we can never move into sweeter relationship with God and with other people.
Hebrews 9:14 says that the “blood of Christ,” cleanses “our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” When we hold on to the sinful acts of our past, we can’t serve God effectively. We don’t consider how God can use because of who we are and what we’ve done. We’re stifled because we can’t forgive ourselves.
Jesus died so that we could have freedom. He’s already forgiven us for everything we’ve done and everything we’re going to do. Our responsibility is to accept his forgiveness and keep short accounts. When you realize you’ve sinned against someone, admit it to God and to that person. Then relax, give yourself a break and walk in the victory that is already yours.